Best monitors for MacBook Pro in 2024: stunning second screens for every budget

Man wearing headphones and using a Dell 32-inch monitor, one of the best monitors for MacBook Pro
(Image credit: Dell)

Looking for the best monitors for MacBook Pro? We're not surprised. If you've invested in one of the best MacBooks, you won't want to be held back by the size of the screen. While a MacBook's Pro compact size makes it perfect for portability, when you're back at your desk editing photos and videos, you'll want to open multiple windows, with enough space to see everything in detail. And so a second monitor starts to make a lot of sense.

Even the 16-inch MacBook Pro M3 could feel restrictive when you've got multiple editing pallets open, resulting in a small image or video preview pane. And multitasking two or more windows alongside each other could feel equally confining. The problem is only made worse with smaller 13-inch MacBooks, which while great for portability, can soon become restrictive over long periods of use.

A second, standalone monitor can instantly expand your viewing horizons, letting you extend your MacBook's display area almost seamlessly onto a display size of your choosing. Check out our tips at the end of this guide to learn more about how to choose your perfect monitor, but in the mean time here's our roundup of the best monitors for a MacBook Pro right now.

Best monitors for MacBook Pro in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

(Image credit: Future)
The best monitor for MacBook Pro overall

Specifications

Size: 27-inch
Ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Brightness: 400cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 2000:1
sRGB gamut (claimed): 100%
Adobe RGB gamut (tested): 89%

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent color accuracy
+
Great connectivity
+
Fair price

Reasons to avoid

-
AdobeRGB coverage could be better
-
No extras like a hood or remote dial

The U2723QE itself is a 27-inch display with headline specs like 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage, 4K resolution, USB-C connectivity with Power Delivery, and even IPS Black technology to boost contrast and give deeper black depth. In our testing we found Dell's headline specs translate to excellent image quality results across the board. If you need extensive DCI-P3 color space coverage and USB-C connectivity with Power Delivery, this display is certainly worth the money and is definitely worthy of serious consideration if you're in the market for a high-performing display for image or video editing.

Read more: Dell UltraSharp U2723QE full review for more details

(Image credit: Future)
A 27-inch, 4K monitor with stunning color accuracy and great build quality

Specifications

Size: 27-inch
Ratio: 16x9
Resolution: 3840x2160
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
sRGB gamut (claimed): 100%
Adobe RGB gamut (claimed): 99%

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent color accuracy
+
Hardware calibration
+
Overall high build quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Price is hard to justify
-
Few compelling upgrades over old model
-
Hotkey Puck of arguable usefulness

BenQ has a history of making some sensational monitors, and the SW272U is its latest flagship offering for discerning photo and video editors. The new 4K display boasts factory color calibration to an accuracy of Delta E ≤1.5 and is capable of displaying 100% sRGB and 99% AdobeRGB coverage - impressive stuff. Elsewhere, you get USB-C connectivity with 90W Power Delivery, plus BenQ's third-generation color Uniformity Technology, hardware color calibration, and a separate 'Hotkey Puck' remote control for easy settings adjustment and color mode switching. In our series of lab tests, the SW272U gave extremely good results. In fact, the only drawback here is the monitor's price, which is significantly more than some rival screens like the Dell UltraSharp U2723QE (above), which performs almost as well as the BenQ but for a lot less money.

Read our full BenQ PhotoVue SW272U review for more details

(Image credit: Paul Reiffer)
The best monitor for MacBook Pro if money's no object

Specifications

Screen size: 27 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 5120×2880 (5K)
Brightness: 600cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1200:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
5K resolution
+
Wide viewing angle
+
Glare reduction

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

If you want the best monitor for MacBook Pro, you want to go to the source, right? And so it is that the Apple Studio Display, launched earlier this year, is an excellent second monitor for these purposes. Just be warned: it's very expensive. 

Should you be able to afford it, though, you'll be rewarded with a very lovely 27-inch 5K display, with true and consistent colors, up to 600 nits of brightness, and an extremely wide viewing angle. The nano-textured glass option on the screen delivers an incredible amount of glare reduction. And connectivity is excellent too, with three USB-C ports and one Thunderbolt port.

Read our full Apple Studio Display review for more details

(Image credit: Future)
The best ultrawide monitor for MacBook Pro

Specifications

Screen size: 34-inch
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3,440 x 1,440
Brightness: 350 cd/m2
Refresh rate: 60Hz
Response time: 5ms
Viewing angle: 178/178
Contrast ratio: 1,000:1
Color support: 100% Rec.709,100% sRGB, 98% DCI-P3
Weight: 9.3kg

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image quality
+
Versatile screen size
+
98% DCI-P3 coverage

Reasons to avoid

-
Max brightness not great
-
AdobeRGB coverage could be better
-
Sub-4K resolution

The BenQ PD3420Q is our top monitor pick for the MacBook Pro if you want an ultrawide viewing perspective. It boasts a quality 3,440 x 1,440 resolution, spread over a 34-inch 21:9 ultrawide screen, giving you a huge desktop to work on. And its 2,500:1 contrast means your images will look bright and vibrant. 

The PD3420Q also supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), backed up by VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification, enabling enhanced clarity in extreme highlight and shadow areas. Crucially, this monitor also has 100% sRGB, 100% Rec.709 and an impressive 98% DCI-P3 color space coverage, making it a great choice for photographers, videographers and designers alike.

Read our full BenQ PD3420Q review

Recommended

(Image credit: Dell)

5. Dell UltraSharp PremierColor U3219Q

HDR and excellent color accuracy

Specifications

Screen size: 31.5 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Brightness: 400cd/m2
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sRGB color space coverage
+
Fairly well priced
+
Plenty of screen space

Reasons to avoid

-
AdobeRGB coverage not great
-
Only 2 display inputs

Dell produces several excellent monitors which would work great alongside a MacBook Pro, but the U3219Q offers the the one to get if you want top color accuracy and a huge workspace to boot. 

This 31.5-inch panel can display 99% of the sRGB color space, while factory color calibration ensures a Delta-E accuracy of less than 2. The giant Dell is also capable of displaying HDR content, as it just meets the 400cd/m2 brightness needed for HDR output. Add an excellent, highly adjustable stand, a USB 3 hub, and USB-C connectivity with Power Delivery and you've got a thoroughly capable and hassle-free monitor to complement even the best MacBook. 

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Future)
The best portable monitor for MacBook Pro

Specifications

Display size: 15.6 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Panel type: OLED
Max brightness: 400 cd/m2
Contrast: 100,000:1
Dimensions: 359mm x 226.7-314.5mm x 19mm
Weight: 980g

Reasons to buy

+
Class-leading image quality
+
Great stand
+
Useful extra features

Reasons to avoid

-
High (but fair) price

Want a monitor for your MacBook Pro that'll work on the go as well as at home? Consider a portable monitor. These clever screens are a similar size to your MacBook's screen and are super-slim and light so can be carried alongside your MacBook. And the best bit? Their single-cable USB-C connection can also power the screen from your MacBook's battery, so you can indulge in dual-screen computing with no AC outlet required!

The VP16-OLED stands out from other portable monitors thanks to it being one of very few models on the market based around an OLED display. Compared to a conventional LCD panel, an OLED screen is able to deliver better color accuracy, significantly better contrast, and much improved brightness and color consistency across the entire screen.

The VP16-OLED certainly translates these benefits into stunning real-world image quality. We found this to be one of the most color-accurate monitors we've ever reviewed, and our extensive testing also revealed the VP16-OLED excels in all measures of image quality.

Factor the superbly versatile stand, decent connectivity, plus a host of extra features, and there really are no weak links or compromises here - the VP16-OLED is everything a creative could want from a portable monitor and a great compliment to your MacBook Pro.

See our full ViewSonic ColorPro VP16-OLED review

Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Future)
Another excellent portable monitor to compliment your MacBook

Specifications

Display size: 14 inches
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Panel type: IPS
Max brightness: 300 cd/m2
Contrast: 700:1
Dimensions: 322 x 203 x 14mm
Weight: 590g

Reasons to buy

+
Super simple and portable
+
Good build quality
+
Surprising color accuracy

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the cheapest portable monitor

Where the ViewSonic ColorPro VP16-OLED (above) is an OLED-based portable monitor, this Dell rival uses more conventional LCD panel technology. While not quite a match for an OLED display in terms of color saturation and contrast, an IPS LCD panel provides much more consistent color and contrast, regardless of viewing angle, than TN or even VA-based LCD units.

The C1422H is a 14-inch, 16:9 widescreen display that sports a generous Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution. That's high enough to produce a 158ppi pixel density on a screen this small - almost as crisp a 27-inch monitor running at 4K.  The C1422H weighs only 590g and is also super-slim at just 1.43cm at its thickest point. This is a monitor that can comfortably slot in a bag alongside your MacBook Pro, and Dell provides a nice soft sleeve for transportation.

Read our full Dell C1422H review

See also: Best portable monitors

(Image credit: Asus)

8. Asus ProArt PA32UCG

The best 32-inch monitor for MacBook Pro

Specifications

Screen size: 32 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840x2160 (4K)
Brightness: 1000cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 3000:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Feature-packed
+
Stunning image quality
+
Genuine HDR brightness & contrast

Reasons to avoid

-
Extremely expensive
-
Requires a lot of desk space

Aimed at creative professionals, the Asus ProArt PA32UCG is a brilliant 4K USB-C monitor which boasts HDR imaging capabilities and nearly every feature a creative could want for an image or video editing. 

The Thunderbolt 3/USB-C connection means this monitor can be connected to your MacBook Pro with just a single cable, and with up to 60W of Power Delivery, that same wire can also power your MacBook - neat stuff. You also get 100% sRGB color space coverage, 99.5% Adobe RGB, and 95% DCI-P3; plus pro-grade calibration features and a hardware calibration tool in the box. 

There's no getting away from the fact that it is expensive, but if you're serious about image quality and want to match or even exceed the quality of your MacBook's Retina display, this is the monitor to go for.

(Image credit: LG)

9. LG 34WP85C-B curved ultrawide monitor

The best curved monitor for MacBook Pro

Specifications

Screen size: 34 inches
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3440x1440 (UWQHD)
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Accessible price
+
Decent 3440 x 1440 res for the money
+
99% sRGB coverage

Reasons to avoid

-
Huge width dominates a desk

Fancy an extra-large ultrawide monitor for your MacBook Pro, and one that also wraps around you for a more immersive viewing experience? A curved monitor is an answer, and we reckon the LG 34WP85C represents superb value for money. For starters, it's an IPS display, so color and contrast accuracy should be more reliable than a cheaper curved monitor using VA LCD screen technology. 

Not only is this critical for accurate image editing, it's also the display technology used in a MacBook Pro's Retina display, so this monitor's image quality will look that part alongside your MacBook. You also get a decent 95% DCI-P3 color space coverage, plus there's HDR10 certification for viewing high dynamic range content. The 3440 x 1440 aspect ratio is to be expected for this screen size and matches equivalently-sized curved monitors at higher price points. All things considered, this LG panel is a bit of a bargain.

See also: Best ultrawide monitors

How to choose the best monitor for a MacBook Pro?

What size monitor should I buy?

There's no point adding a second monitor if it's too small for the work you're doing, but too large and you may be struggling to fit it alongside your MacBook. We reckon 27-inch screens offer a great balance between screen real estate while not being too physically unwieldy.

How do I connect a monitor to my MacBook?

Most monitors still use conventional video connections: HDMI or DisplayPort. However, Apple only outfits its latest MacBook Pro models with Thunderbolt/USB-C ports. Consequently, if you want to connect a monitor directly to your MacBook, it'll need to be a USB-C-compatible screen. The good news is all the monitor options in this guide are USB-C monitors, so are ready to plug and play. If you do choose a non-USB-C monitor elsewhere, though, you'll need to buy a DisplayPort to USB-C adapter dongle separately.

How can I be sure a second screen will match my MacBook's display quality?

For your chosen monitor's image quality to best match that of your MacBook's display, consistent color and contrast across both screens in a must. Generally, the more you spend on a monitor, the higher the color accuracy of the panel, and the better the percentage coverage of color spaces like sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, and Rec. 709, and therefore the closer it should be able to match your MacBook's color accuracy.

How we test monitors

We evaluate a monitor with particular attention given to its core image quality, including brightness, contrast, color vibrancy, and accuracy. While this can - and will - be assessed by the experienced eye of our professional reviewer, some manufacturer screen specs can only be definitively judged by an 'electronic eye' - a monitor calibrator. Where possible, a calibration device will be placed on the screen to verify its advertised color space coverage, brightness output and consistency, and factory color calibration accuracy. Beyond image quality, we'll also scrutinize the monitor's display and data ports to ensure acceptable connectivity, and will give a thorough assessment of build quality, including the range of ergonomic adjustments in its stand. Only then will we determine if a screen is worthy of use by a discerning imaging or video enthusiast.

Read more:
The best photo editing tools and accessories 
Best USB-C hubs
Best headphones for video editing
The best NAS drives 

Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.